The moment I entered Elia’s Mexican Grill in Morrilton, I thought, “Now, this is a special place.”
The family vibe at Elia’s is sincere and real, as several of Keith and Elia Lawson’s children are members of the work family. Since opening the restaurant in 2017, the Lawsons have developed a loyal customer base that loves the family-created recipes that Elia’s has perfected. Family members involved with the restaurant operation include Claudia Falcon and Elizabeth and Antonio Pastor. Elia is quite the artist, as she has many beautiful items for sale in the boutique entryway. I enjoyed watching her treat a few younger customers to gifts. I’m not sure who smiled more, Elia or the kiddos.
“Our goal is to provide meals and food that people can enjoy,” Elia said. “Everything is made fresh and prepared daily to meet the level of consistency that we desire. I love to meet people, make friends, and I love to cook.”
Elia served her stunning version of a Shrimp Cocktail as my first item to sample. The presentation was perfect, and the flavors were even better. Boiled shrimp, lime and cucumber wedges adorned the glass lip, while sliced avocado, chopped onions, cilantro and tomatoes were swimming in a tangy, house-made cocktail sauce. It was served with saltine crackers that I enjoyed dipping into the yummy sauce.
One of the restaurant’s top sellers is the Guacamole Chicken Enchiladas. This isn’t your typical fast-food Mexican version of enchiladas, but a work of culinary art. I enjoyed the three skillfully made guacamole-and-cheese enchiladas that were smothered with white cheese sauce and topped with grilled chicken, shredded cheese and sour cream. The blend of flavors was very nice and made my palate smile with pleasure.
Elia’s Milanesa dish is a one-of-a-kind gourmet masterpiece. The fabulous, family-secret breading coating the two chicken filets was greatly accentuated by chorizo and cheese sauce. The colorful plate included rice, black beans (refried was another option), guacamole, salad and tortillas.
One of my favorite dishes at any Mexican restaurant is Arroz Jalisco. And my new favorite place to have it is at Elia’s. The bed of rice was topped with grilled steak, chicken and shrimp as well as sautéed onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and cheese sauce.
Don’t miss the Razorback Fajitas, featuring fork-tender pork, chorizo, bacon and melted cheese.
Be sure to ask for extra tortillas, as you will want to enjoy every morsel on your plate.
Elia’s offers homemade pies and desserts, but the Chocolate Nachos are muy bueno. You simply must try the popular, colorful dessert of sugar tortillas, generous scoops of ice cream and toppings.
Just to pique your interest in this restaurant a bit more, Elia’s Mexican Grill offers Cajun and American comfort food specials that always sell out. I was told that people line up at the door when Elia prepares Cajun Pasta. This gives me a great excuse to go back to Morrilton to see my friends. Or I may plan to visit another place they plan to open just up Interstate 40 named The Well.
Dining recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at email@example.com.